Dear News Media

Dear News Media:

Stop it! Just. Stop. It.

I understand that having people watch is important for ratings, and ratings are what make advertisers buy into you, and so you want to do what is going to attract people to you so you can make money. I don’t grudge you that. Money is important. For jobs and stuff.

But…and you could hear that but coming, I know…I have had it with the artificial anxiety/stress-induction/panic-based strategies you have been employing since…oh, about the Republican Primary. Who are we kidding? Since I can remember.

Look. In August I had a discussion with my office assistant. She sagely said, “We know that it’s going to be Mitt. And we know that it’s going to be Obama. When all the kerfluffle dies down.” You then proceeded to invent an artificial contest that examined miniscule poll variation in incredible repetitious depth, speculate for one side and then the other until people of a variety of political persuasions hated and loathed the opposite candidates, and most likely increased the general unhappiness quotient of the nation by 79.2 percent.

Fine. Elections are like that in this day and age. It ended.

***

Hrm. What to do now that the election is over? Certainly, there’s a lot of tragic and on the edge International News that you could report on, (like Egypt or Israel/Palestine or even EU debt?) but you know or suspect that your audience is insular and domestic. So, you opt for scandal (What is Starlet X doing now? Can you believe she’s left her husband, and/or has shown up at the beach showing that cellulite?) and more stress-inducing political horror (we’re going to plunge over the fiscal cliff. AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!)

I take the fiscal cliff seriously. I understand that if our legislators can’t work on our debt reform, that they will make us all suffer from this artificial dramatic gesture they’ve imposed to get us to care about partisanship. (See? You aren’t the only ones who can artificially ramp up stress! Don’t feel singled out…) The easiest way to avoid going over the cliff is for the legislature to look at previous laws from past sessions discussing how we have dealt with debt. I also understand that if we continue to not compromise that the current law means that my meager raise, my interest deduction, and my tax refund are approaching extinct. It’s important for me to understand this. That said, I do. I think I understood it after the third article/feature I saw on it. I am very certain I understand it after the 250th one, and I am tired of you trying to make me overly concerned about it. In short, it’ll work out, or I’ll have to pay for impasse.

What I am unappreciative of is your incessant harping about it trying to over-dramatize the situation. Please stop. While I’m asking, would you stop sensationalizing crime, spotlighting shootings, discussing how I am likely to die from corn syrup and/or stray chemicals and/or flesh eating bacteria, and just please, please, please report the news with something like evenness or objectivity, or dare I even suggest it, sanity?

Perhaps you could put a disclaimer on it for me? Something like “Before tonight’s top story, we’d like to warn you that this story will be augmented for ratings purposes. For those that are experiencing drama burnout, a more bland and realistic representation of the news facts in the story and the implications thereof can be found at our blog.”

I would be a lot happier. I suspect I’m not the only one.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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